Knowing how to price your services can be confusing. Should you charge the same as others? Are you good enough to charge more? Will you be able to find clients?
The most important thing is to earn enough, while still enjoying your life.
This episode will discuss the dangers of low pricing and how to successfully charge more. It is important that you set prices to keep your business and not just start it. You may have started by pricing low. But now you are working constantly. Without making ends meet. Your current clients won’t pay higher prices. Higher-paying clients don’t know you exist. How do you leave this trap?
Pricing your work requires a lot of thought. You don’t know what you don’t know. How much money do you need to earn? How many hours do you want to work? Your business is your career. This means you should be living the life you want right now. You may think you should set low prices because you’re new. This just isn’t true.
Do you believe low prices attract more clients? Prices can affect which clients book with you. But they don’t attract them! Invest in better products, branding, and marketing. This is how to get dream clients. They will want the services you offer. And they will pay higher prices.
Did you start by matching others’ prices? Or even pricing lower? This can lead to ruining the market. Plus you will work more and earn less. The result is less time for relationships and leisure. And you won’t be able to grow your business. You can undervalue yourself in many ways. Understanding how to avoid it requires experience or a good mentor.
Pricing is an emotional journey. Let’s discuss why, and how, to value yourself effectively.
Pricing is how you afford to live.
You should understand that pricing is not a good tool for getting more bookings. When you figure out a good price for your work, you are looking for prices that sustain your business over the long term. This means that all your expenses are covered. And that you’re getting paid a decent salary. Without having to work too much.
So if you want time to spend with loved ones, or you want relaxation on the weekends, your prices should reflect that. This is why low prices can lead to burning out. Especially newer photographers are afraid to set prices too high. Then they need to work more hours, which leads to many different problems. Remember, you can always reach out to more experienced photographers. Ask them for advice to see what you really need to charge.
Once you do this, you will probably be surprised to learn how high your prices should be. First name the right prices for your work. Then you can work on booking the right clients at this price.
What you are actually doing when pricing too low.
Your income needs to pay the bills.
Does your plumber charge a fraction of their fee to get more customers? Of course not. Why would they? If they do this, they are simply working more for the same pay. You must value your work with the same logic. Of course, you’d like everyone to be able to book a skilled photographer. It’s a nice thought. But it’s not a viable business model.
You have expenses. Will your local grocery store give you a discount on food because you charge less? No, they won’t. The same goes for gas in your car and heat in your home. You can still do things to help people access your services. You could offer mini sessions one time a week. Maybe you can give one discounted session a month for people who need this. But you cannot sacrifice your livelihood. That is what you are doing when you price too low.
Your low prices hurt everyone’s business.
Another problem is that other photographers also depend on your prices. Your low prices pressure everyone to set lower prices. So this is a downward spiral. When professional photographers cannot make a living they quit. Are you a new photographer? Those are your mentors you are pushing out!
Maybe you are struggling to get bookings. Lower prices are not the solution. Your portfolio, your brand, and your marketing are what get clients. You will spend your time getting clients that want a deal. If you want to increase prices, you will need to start all over. You will need a strategy that targets the new higher-paying clients. This strategy will be different than what attracts the budget clients. Why not do it right from the start?
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Have you ever felt envy toward a photographer with lots of bookings? You may think you also need so many clients. But you don’t know their business. Maybe they’re not actually making a lot of money. They could be in this common trap of pricing low and needing to work constantly. This is why your business has to work for you. How much do you want to work? How much money do you need? These things should marry to the type of services you offer. Once you get the formula right you will be setting yourself up sustainably. But the decisions you make are personal to you and your business.
Instead of looking to others, spend time crafting your own business. It seems like the gold standard for wedding photographers to be booked every weekend during the months that make up wedding season. But you can decide when you are fully booked. Do you want to work 5 weekends or 10 or 20 weekends? Set your goal and then work to get the clients you need. But if you decide to book every weekend, this could be a problem. You could be too busy to grow your business. You are not just a photographer. You are a business owner. Being a business owner takes time.
Decide if you need skill building or confidence building.
Do you think you’re not good enough to charge more? One of two things could be true. Either you don’t have the skills, or you don’t have the confidence. Figure out which. Usually, photographers do have the skills. Ask someone you look up to if they will review your portfolio. They can give you an honest opinion. It is good to know if you need to do skill-building. More likely is that you need to build better business skills. Get confident in your photography abilities. Ask for help to run your business more sustainably. If you say you can’t afford to pay for help, this is proof you need to earn more. It’s a vicious cycle you have to break!
Everyone tells me I’m too expensive as is.
Sure, some people may not like your prices. These are not your dream clients. It won’t matter what your prices are. You could do a wedding for $150, $2000, or $6000. You’re always going to be too expensive for some people. But never for your dream client. They will always pay, without complaining. Higher pricing can actually attract the right clients.
Are you not getting many bookings? It can feel scary to raise prices. But sometimes you are too expensive for some and are too cheap for others. Especially high-end clients think low prices mean less quality. Experiment with your prices. You can offer some more expensive packages alongside your current offerings. Learn how to market these packages. This can bring in higher-paying clients.
Raising your prices can have positive ripple effects.
You win, your clients win, your colleagues win, your family wins and other businesses around you win.
- You’ll have more time. TIME to spend how you want. Because you have to work less, to get enough money in. Your family benefits from more quality time, and you get more relaxation.
- You’ll have more money. You can spend it on your community. You can invest in learning. Maybe get a housekeeper or hire a food service (giving you more time).
- You’ll afford to grow your business. You will have the time and money to invest back into your business. This is essential for long-term success.
- You’ll create a better client experience. Because you need fewer clients, you can make each experience more special. You will have happier clients. This means more positive reviews and referrals.
- You’ll encourage your colleagues to increase their prices too. When you set prices that sustain you, others can do the same.
hi, i'm ingvild
This podcast is all about education and inspiration for photographers. A sustainable business is profitable and lasting. Instead of short-term wins you want to make sure you’re doing things that matter. Both to yourself, and to create the business you want. The goal of this podcast is that it will help you build and structure your business around your life, instead of the other way around.